Anger over funding of Palestinian textbooks

Tory MP Stephen Crabb and Labour's Steve McCabe speak out at Educate for Peace event


Conservative and Labour parliamentarians have expressed anger that Palestinian children are being indoctrinated by school textbooks that teach them hatred in classes that are funded by British taxpayers.

The MP and Conservative Friends of Israel  parliamentary chair Stephen Crabb an online event on Thursday: “One of the examples that I have found most shocking is a maths textbook for six-year-olds.

“A maths exercise asks children to add the numbers of martyrs in the First Intifada to the number of martyrs in the Second Intifada. And this for me really shows how deep the problem goes – this normalisation of violence present right throughout the curriculum and this insidious messaging is extremely effective at manipulating young minds.

“I believe there is a direct link between this indoctrination and the participation of Palestinian minors in acts of violence against Israelis and we should be in no doubt that Palestinian incitement makes peace harder to achieve.” 

“It was the UK government that lobbied international partners in the first instance to carry out the review into textbooks – and whilst we should give credit where it is due, the UK also then has a responsibility to ensure the review it being conducted properly.

“The UK is paying for teachers and public servants to draft and implement and to teach this material potentially in schools even named after terrorists.” 

Mr Crabb said he had always been “a big supporter of foreign aid”  but he added “it absolutely must be spent properly and effectively and we must have proper and complete oversight of the process.”

Thursday’s event was jointly hosted by The Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Zionist Federation and We Believe in Israel, was also addressed by Marcus Sheff, CEO at the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, which has researched Palestinian textbooks.

Steve McCabe MP, Parliamentary Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, agreed that the content of the PA’s curriculum was unacceptable.

He said: “LFI have been warning the government about this since [the curriculum] was introduced in 2017.

“People will say that the UK does not directly fund the textbooks, but we do fund the 33,000 teachers and civil servants who design the curriculum and deliver it, so who prints the textbooks is of little consequence.

“There is a memorandum of understanding covering our aid relationship with the Palestinian Authority and it states quite clearly that the PA must act against incitement to violence, including allegations of incitement in the educational curriculum.”

Mr McCabe added: "LFI  think the UK should suspend all aid to the PA which directly or indirectly finances the teaching and implementing of curriculum until there are wholesale revisions.

“We propose that the money should be used instead to Palestinian NGOs that have a proven track record of promoting peace initiatives in schools, designed to foster tolerance, coexistence, and respect for the ‘other’.

“We don’t want Palestinian children to suffer because of the behaviour of their PA leaders but we can’t see this outrage be allowed to continue any longer.”

The event, entitled Educate for Peace,  was chaired by Claudia Mendoza, Co-Chief Executive of the JLC.


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